Spotlight on America: Studying in the West

A bi-weekly spotlight on great study abroad destinations.

Spotlight on America: Studying in the West

Feb 7, 2017

For the first blog in our “Spotlight on America” series, we explored colleges and universities in the Northeast region of the United States. Now we are moving over to the other side of the country and looking at your options out West. While 13 states make up this region, California alone boasts 16 of the top 25 Western colleges, according to Forbes magazine. So, if you are taking the TOEFL® test to study abroad in the United States, you may want to look into schools in California, the third largest state in the nation!

Features & Facts

  • States in the Western region: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
  • History: The Oregon Trail and the California Gold Rush brought many people from the Eastern United States to the West in the 1840s.
  • Geography: The West is the largest region of the United States and is vast and varied in terms of geography—from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast to the Great Plans to the Mojave Desert!
  • Climate: Since the region is so big, the weather ranges greatly from state to state. For example, Southern California has year-round beach weather, while Colorado is a favorite ski and snow-boarding destination. If weather is important to you when choosing a school, be sure to check into the specific state in which you plan to study.


Universities & Colleges – Here are just a few to get you started:

  • Stanford University (Stanford, California): Stanford is located between San Francisco and San Jose in an area known as “Silicon Valley,” home to many high-tech corporations. This 125-year-old research
    university has an entrepreneurial spirit and offers everything from social sciences to humanities to engineering.
  • Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah): Students from more than 100 countries are represented at BYU, which has 30,395 undergraduate students and 2,968 graduate students currently enrolled. The school is committed to both learning and religious values and has a #1-ranked accounting program.
  • Reed College (Portland, Oregon): Reed is another accredited college that emphasizes intellectual discussion, critical thinking and creativity. “Reedies,” the nickname for students who attend college at Reed, can choose from 40 majors and programs and are required to write a thesis to graduate.
  • University of Washington (Seattle, Washington): Nationally ranked for its dedication to public service, students at UW are committed to helping the people and world around them. The university offers 1,800 undergraduate courses and emphasizes the importance of becoming a global citizen.

The American West has so much to offer students who decide to study there. See the other top 25 colleges that made Forbes’ list here.